It’s 9AM. I am already starting my second cup of coffee, and I have just finished an hour and a half of reading other people’s articles while leaving thoughtful comments. This is what I have been doing for the past couple of weeks in hopes of driving more traffic to my site.

In the pursuit of any endeavor we can’t ignore the fundamentals. Knowledgeable, aspiring young bloggers know that you need to build relationships if you want to establish a loyal fanbase. This means visiting other blogs, replying to comments and e-mails, making your site look presentable, and providing consistency in content.

However, the fundamentals alone won’t get you the success you want, whether it is with blogging, starting a business, or with life in general.

Don’t get me wrong – the fundamentals are crucial – but you need that X factor if you want to take your work to the next level. In fact, with the competition, it is almost as if we need a Y and Z factor too.

So what do X, Y, and Z stand for? Well…that is for you to figure out. If I could tell you, then they would no longer be X, Y, and Z; they would just be any old information that any hack could get a hold of.

Risk-Taking

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“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.”
- Ray Bradbury

Pat Flynn at SmartPassiveIncome.com makes a healthy living off blogging. He says he is not a millionaire, but he does make enough to support his wife and new baby boy. As a successful businessman, he says if you want to up the ante then you need to take bold actions.

In business or in life you really only have two choices:

    A. Do you want to blend into the background?

    B. Or do you want to stand out from the rest?

When asked this question, many will jump to their feet and scream, “I want to stand out from the rest!” But it isn’t that easy.

Standing out can be painful. It requires us to step out of our comfort zone, take risks, experience failure, and then still have the conviction and will to get back up again. Many won’t be able to get back up on that horse after only their first time falling. It can be that hurtful and dispiriting.

Mindful Persistence

Some folks believe that as long as you are strong and persistent in spite of your failures, then you can make it through anything. I’ve written about this before and I certainly still believe that commitment is a strong value to have during any endeavor.

But what if your failure isn’t due to you or any lack of skills? Maybe you keep getting thrown off because there is something wrong with the horse? How do you know when a failure is due to your lack of commitment or if it is the pursuit in itself that fails?

That is why I propose mindfulness, a concept I discuss very frequently on this blog. Mindful persistence means knowing when to be persistent and knowing when to ditch an idea completely.

We need to know when to attribute a failure to our self and when to attribute a failure to uncontrollable circumstances. If the problem is something inside ourselves, then we need to stay persistent, do research, keep failing, and eventually learn the tools of the trade. If the problem is an uncontrollable circumstance then it is time to accept a change in strategy.

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“Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.”
- Tom Peters

What risks am I taking?

As a 21 year old, my biggest resource is not money or experience but how I spend my time. I graduated college a semester early so that I could get a jump-start on what I wanted to do. Even before I chose to major in psychology I knew I wanted to make a living being self-employed, without any concerns for bosses and strict deadlines.

My biggest risk thus far is my decision to remain unemployed and devote my full-time towards this site. I am now working on my first ebook, which is going to be my first bold step forward in monetizing my work.

Some may think I am naive or foolish, but I see things in my future that I cannot expect others to see for me. That is a big part of what makes a risk a risk. I am willing to step out on that limb.

Ask yourself, “What risks am I taking?” What things are you looking to put on the line and what do you think you can achieve in return?

Join me for the ride

This blog is as much about improving myself as it is about improving the world. That is one of the major themes throughout my writing. I provide a lot of free and useful content on this site and I want to encourage people who have a similar attitude to join my newsletter, where I share my latest posts along with articles and videos from all over the internet. If you click on that link you can also check out the latest issue of my newsletter and get a taste for the types of things to expect in the future.

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